After months of knocking on the doors of various New York literary agents, my novel MY LIFE WITH SHELLEY has found its advocate! I queried Ms. Evans early in the morning on my birthday June 27, and before noon she requested my full manuscript. (I sat on my hands for several hours before shooting the file through cyberspace!) True to her word, she responded within six weeks, with this beautiful message, “Dear Marianne, I finished reading your novel today and I really loved it. Would you have time to talk this coming Monday?”
I DID! I did have time to talk that coming Monday!”
Our conversation ranged from fun topics like her clever identification of two (unnamed) New York restaurants where scenes in the narrative are set—to how much she liked the way I blended the historical and modern-day parts of the book—to the Agency/Author Agreement she’d be emailing me as soon as we hung up,
Literary agents receive as many as 200 unsolicited query letters every week. In addition to servicing the clients they already represent, they sift through these book pitches, passing on 99.9% of them, always hoping something perfect for them will float to the top. Ms. Evans, as far as I can see, is perfect for me. I mailed the signed agreement to New York from the tiny post office on Washington Island, WI, where I’m currently enjoying my annual Sojourn of Solitude.
The most beautiful comment Ms. Evans made during our phone chat was, “I didn’t realize how interested I was in Mary Shelley until I started reading your book!” No, wait a minute, it was, “After Labor Day, editors will be looking for something just like this!”
I promised Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley I would tell the story of her disastrous (in her words) life to the world. The writing process took years, but I didn’t give up. Now, there’s a publishing professional enthusiastic about Mary Shelley’s story as well as the story of Grace Zacharias, the nerdy high school English teacher obsessed with the author of Frankenstein, who fabricates Mary’s memoir after disaster befalls her own life.